Seven people are dead and seven others were injured after a vintage plane crashed on the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 2 at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.
The Federal Aviation Administration said a vintage B-17 aircraft that is registered out of Stow, Massachusetts crashed at the end of Runway 6 around 10 a.m. while attempting to land. The pilot signaled engine trouble just before the crash.
Officials said the plane slid off the runway during landing. The crash occurred five minutes after takeoff when the plane hit a maintenance facility used for de-icing.
Thirteen people were onboard, including 10 passengers and three crew members. The passengers paid an unknown fee to ride on the plane.
Sixteen people were involved in the crash - the people on the plane, two airport employees in the de-icing station, and a firefighter who responded to the crash. One of the airport workers escaped uninjured.
There were no children were on the plane. The survivors have injuries ranging from minor to critical.
Officials from the Simsbury Volunteer Fire Department said two of their members were on the plane and are being treated at the hospital.
One of the firefighters has been working with the department for more than 15 years while the other has been with the fire department for a little over five years.
The Connecticut Air National Guard confirmed one of their members was also a passenger. That person was taken to Hartford Hospital for treatment.
"Victims are very difficult to identify, we don't want to make a mistake," Commissioner James Rovella of the Department of Emergency Service and Public Protection. A state official with knowledge of the investigation told NBC Connecticut Wednesday afternoon that bodies remain in the wreckage.
Connecticut State Police said any immediate family members looking for information on the plane crash can call the CSP Message Center at 860-685-8190.
Patients went to three different hospitals with at least six patients taken to Hartford Hospital, including one via Lifestar and five by ambulance, the hospital said. Three of those patients were critical at the hospital, which is a Level 1 trauma center and has mobilized a trauma team. Two patients taken to Hartford Hospital were transfered to the burn unit in Bridgeport and are now considered stable.
Patients from the plane crash were also taken to Saint Francis Hospital.
"We received a mass casualty alert following the plane crash that took place near Bradley International Airport this morning. As a Level 1 Trauma Center, Saint Francis Hospital has deployed all the necessary preparations in order to be ready to receive any number of patients," said Dr. Steven Wolf, Emergency Department Chair at Saint Francis Hospital.
Bradley International Airport was closed, but they reopened Runway 15/33. Runway 6/24 remains closed for the investigation into the crash.
While the airport was closed, traffic was diverted to TF Green Airport in Rhode Island. Flight cancellations are expected to impact flights for the rest of Wednesday.
The FBI, FAA were on scene investigating the Bradley plane crash and the NTSB arrived on Wednesday as well. State Police are assisting the NTSB with crash reconstruction. The Connecticut Airport Authority and the Department of Homeland Security are also involved in the investigation.
The NTSB is asking anyone with information, pictures or video to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Right now, my heart goes out to the families that are waiting," Gov. Ned Lamont said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. "Remember these are husbands and wives and sisters and brothers, all part of our Connecticut family."
The plane was at Bradley Airport for the "Wings of Freedom Tour" sponsored by the Collings Foundation. The B-17 bomber was known at one point as the "Flying Fortress" or the 909.
The foundation said the last day of the event scheduled for Thursday has been canceled.
The plane is a civilian registered aircraft and is not flown by the military, the FAA added.
The Collings Foundation released a statement about the crash on Wednesday morning.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were on that flight and we will be forever grateful to the heroic efforts of the first responders at Bradley," the foundation said.
"The Collings Foundation flight team is fully cooperating with officials to determine the cause of the crash of the B-17 Flying Fortress and will comment further when details become known," foundation officials added.
The New England Air Museum also released a statement:
"On behalf of the entire New England Air Museum family, our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by today's crash of a vintage B-17 aircraft at Bradley International Airport. Although we are not connected to the Collings Foundation or these flights, the New England Air Museum and the Collings Foundation have a decades-long relationship and we are deeply saddened by today's tragedy," the museum said in a statement.
Delores Brookman was standing outside of her home when the plane flew over right before the crash. She recalled the moment she found out what happened.
"I was ready to go in the house and I heard this plane go over and I came back out. I said 'oh my God Cheryl, look up there, that is beautiful' because it was flying just over the top of those trees. And then we heard a clicking noise and didn't think anymore about it so we went in doing what we were supposed to do. Then Kevin called and told us the plane had crashed. I said 'oh my God. That broke my heart," said Brookman.
"Devastated, devastated. It can never be replaced and it was something that shouldn't have happened, but it did," She added.
The aircraft indicated to the tower that it was experiencing problems gaining altitude and attempted to return to the airport but lost control, according to the airport authority.
According to NTSB Aviation Accident Data, the same plane was involved in a crash on Aug. 23, 1987 in Beaver Falls, Penn. In that incident, one serious injury was reported and two minor injuries occurred. The damage to the aircraft at the time was determined to be "substantial."
Sen. Richard Blumenthal released a statement: "Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the victims. They and the public deserve to know the facts and causes of this tragic crash. I am calling for an immediate National Transportation Safety Board investigation so we can get to the bottom of what happened and prevent future tragedies. The NTSB should be on the scene as soon as possible, with assistance from other agencies like the FAA."
This plane is one of 18 actively flying in the United States, Blumenthal said.